When your mate talks about something that you find boring, what do you do? Do you keep doing what you are doing? Interrupt with something you find more interesting? Wait for him/her to take a breathe & then chime in? Or do you make eye contact & actually listen?
In studying couple communication, Dr. John Gottman & his team of researchers observed that partners continually make “bids” for one another’s attention, closeness, and reassurance.
These bids were made through comments, questions, glances, and/or gestures.
The couples seemed to be asking, on a regular basis:
Are you there? Do I matter to you?
Sometimes they got the responses they wanted.
If they didn’t, they tried again.
You’ve watched it happen, right?
It’s most obvious with children.
A few moms are relaxing at the park while their toddlers are playing in the sandbox. One particular mom is engrossed in conversation with her friends, and her 3-year-old tries to get her attention.
If he’s unsuccessful, he doesn’t give up.
If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!
He’ll keep calling her; and if she doesn’t respond, he’ll get closer to her … and louder! He may even resort to attacking her to get her to pay attention to his needs.
Couples communicate like that, too.
If a hello or a smile gets no response, partners intensify their bids.
Like the toddler, they may get louder, even attacking or criticizing.
However, strategies like criticism will naturally elicit a negative response (defensiveness) and launch a negative pattern of interactions that could escalate into a full-blown argument.
Not exactly what you were hoping for, right?
A Word (or Two) About Sarcasm
Sarcasm is a common method of asking for attention without seeming to really need anything. Your needs for attention (and your vulnerability) are hidden behind a screen of purported humor.
Sarcasm is also a very effective way of shooting yourself in the foot. It sends a mixed message. In reality, you’re asking for attention. But the message your partner gets is that he or she is dumb, clumsy, or lacks value — not a great way to get the positive attention you’re really looking for.
When a man’s partner doesn’t respond to or even recognize? his bids for attention, he may simply give up trying.
QUESTION: So what can you do with this information? Get involved in your own research by observing your own behavior.
How many times and in what ways did you ask for your partner’s attention today?
Did you get the response you wanted?
How can you increase the effectiveness of your bids?
Have you ever wondered why some couples pull together during a crisis, whereas others are driven apart?
This video will help you discover ways to better face any crisis together.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
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Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God.
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Age-old culprits of drugs, alcohol, and gambling are joined by newer addictions, such as food, prescription medication, shopping, pornography, and technology.
Left unaddressed, addiction devastates lives now and makes it difficult to see a positive way forward.
Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or lied to? Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages? Do you feel you are ‘walking on eggshells’ to avoid the next confrontation? If the answer is ‘yes,’ someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (BPD)—a mood disorder that causes negative self-image, emotional instability, and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.
Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped more than a million people with friends and family members suffering from BPD understand this difficult disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous BPD behaviors.
The numbers of males abused in childhood are sometimes listed as low as 5 percent or as high as 33 percent.
Though statistics are controversial, no one disputes the fact that childhood abuse is a continuing problem―or that such abuse can have devastating effects on future relationships.
For all women who know and love a survivor of sexual assault, best-selling author Cecil Murphey has penned an honest and forthright book about surviving―and thriving―despite past abuses.
(NOTE: Much of this applies to any type of abuse he endured.)